Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Taint (2010)

One of the best lines in "This is Spinal Tap" is also the most true: "There's a Fine Line Between Clever and Stupid." You could say that about a lot of horror-comedy movies, especially the likes of Troma. For years, movies like "The Toxic Avenger", "Killer Condum" and "Tromeo and Juliet" skirted the line between "this is just idiotic" and "you know, that's actually pretty clever." Sadly, you can't say that for the majority of the independent movies that try to mix these two like Troma, as I've been assaulted by plenty of terrible "dumb but proud" horror comedy flicks from this spectrum, that tried to be like Troma. Fortunately, Drew Bolduc and Dan Nelson's "The Taint", which quite capably straddles the line between clever and stupid, and is actually not half bad either.

Bolduc stars as Phil O'Ginny, who finds out that he's one of the few men left who haven't gone mad. You see, the water has been tainted, and it has turned most of the male populace into raging "misogynists", or guys with semen spewing erections out of their pants who want to do nothing but crush the heads of women. Now, Phil and tough gal Misandra (Colleen Walsh) must survive in a world gone mad, whilst in the process running into a gym teacher turned rapist who tends to find himself in rather homoerotic positions, and a masked man named Ludas (Kenneth Hall) who knows where "The Taint" comes from.

If "The Taint" suffers from any problems, it's that the film ends up being too self aware for its own good. Here, the various offensive images (castration, abortion, Nazi imagery, etc.) are all gross, but they don't have the shocking impact they should because it's clear everybody involved is really into the joke, thus giving the movie a bit too much of a "nudge-nudge wink-wink" feeling. The general theme/commentary on misogyny isn't that offensive either for the same reasons. It's as if the filmmakers were saying "Heh, weren't these 80's horror flicks tasteless and lewd?", but without any other point.

Still, as I said, it's a lot better than some of the no-budget indie flicks I come across, mostly because this really does feel like one of the better Troma movies for the most part, with plenty of lewd behavior, humor that sometimes does work (Hall is hilarious as Ludas-I laughed hard at the line "Welcome to my friends parents basement!"), and outrageous, over the top gore. Speaking of which, the gore effects are all great, with all the head-crushing, blood splatter, face ripping and other acts of violence never feeling like padding, and looking impressive in the process. This is also not bad for a first time effort, and that's really the best thing about this. Sure, a lot of tiny-budgeted horror flicks are done with blood, sweat and tears, but this is a movie from guys who really seemed to have put their rancid little hearts into it, with Nelson and Buldoc participating in so many of the film's factors (editing, scoring, effects, cinematography) that the end result is impossible to not root for, even if the constant shots of fake cocks ejaculating get's old.

So yeah, "The Taint" is a DIY effort in every way imaginable, and while it runs into many of the flaws those movies do, it still manages to stand head and shoulders above some of their recent peers. Fans of Troma and the like, you have found a largely worthy heir!

Rating: 6.5/10

Update: Troma has gained distribution rights for this movie, which makes total sense.

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